Over 500 merchants and suppliers raised more than £4,000 on Tuesday night (April 8) for industry charity the Rainy Day Trust at the Gala Dinner ahead of the annual National Merchant Buying Society exhibition.
NMBS chairman Tim Allen told delegates: “The last year has been one of the most eventful in the history of the NMBS,” he said.
Turnover was 25% up on the previous year at £648m. Allen described the merger of NMBS and Unimer as “probably the most significant step for NMBS, recognising the vision and ambition of both boards to offer significant benefits to both members and suppliers.”
The merger has brought over 200 new merchant members and 160 suppliers to NMBS and four Unimer directors have joined the new, enlarged NMBS board.
“This year will be a year of consolidation for NMBS, with a projected combined turnover of £1.1bn for NMBS,” said Allen.
He also highlighted how NMBS achieved its aim 2013 – its fiftieth trading year – which was to get 50 apprentices – one for every year of the Society’s year history – with employers across the building industry as part of its Youth Enterprise 50 Scheme.
Before the dinner, Rainy Day Trust trustee James Norton, managing director of Frank Key in Nottingham, encouraged delegates to support the Trust by putting money in the charity envelops on each table. He explained how all funds raised on the evening would be used by the charity to support past and present employees of the home improvement sector.
After dinner, the winner of the evening’s charity prize draw, sponsored by Makita, was announced and Howarth Timber’s Alan Smith won an Apple bundle consisting of an iPAD Air, iPAD touch and an iPAD Smart Case. Combined the prize draw and the evening’s table donations raised over £4,653 for charity.
The guest speaker was footballing legend Kevin Keegan OBE, who entertained guests with anecdotes from a career that has seen him play in the old English First Division, England team and Bundesliga before becoming a Premiership manager, England manager and football pundit.
Keegan ended his speech and the evening with a number of motivational tips for success based on certain parallels between the merchanting sector and top flight football, and drawing on his own hard-won experiences.
NMBS managing director Chris Hayward said: “The NMBS events team faced quite a challenge in surpassing the 2013 Gala Dinner, especially with it being our 50th anniversary, but I’m delighted to say they achieved it. From the merchants and suppliers I spoke to on the night and feedback received by NMBS afterwards, it seems everyone enjoyed the evening and Kevin’s speech in particular.’
“As ever, it also proved a popular opportunity to make new contacts, to catch up with old friends and acquaintances, and to explore potential business opportunities for the following day’s NMBS Exhibition.”